Air India Staff Writes to Civil Aviation Ministry, Raise Concerns

National carrier Air India had recently been reacquired by Talace, a subsidiary of Tata Sons.

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Employees of Air India on Wednesday, 13 October, in a letter to Secretary of Ministry of Civil Aviation, Rajav Bansal, raised concerns in the wake of privatisation of the company, days after the Tata Group won the bid to reacquire the State airline.

The airline's staff, which had hitherto enjoyed the benefits of being government employees, wish to retain some of the assistance provided to them.

The letter raises concerns over housing, paid leaves, medical benefits, and post-retirement benefits of the employees, among other things.

Four employee unions, namely the Indian Commercial Pilots Association, All India Cabin Crew Association, Air India Employees Union, and the Indian Pilots Guild Association, wrote to the government body to take cognisance of their needs.

Air India, on 8 October, was acquired by Talace, a subsidiary of Tata Sons.


What Do the Employees Want?

The demands made by the employees are as follows:

  • Leave Encashment Option: While the ministry has promised leave encashment, the letter demands that the provisions relating leave encashment and carry forwarding of paid and sick leaves be clarified before the formal takeover by Talace.

  • Air India Colonies: The letter also requests the ministry to allow the employees to stay at the residences provided to them by the government in the 'Air India colonies' for at least another year. The request aligns with the government-assured retention of employees by Tata Sons for a minimum of one year.

  • Medical Benefits: The letter noted that there was ambiguity over the medical benefits that will be provided to the current and retired staff, and requested more clarity on the same.

  • Post-Retirement Benefits: The unions have also demanded that all permanent employees be given post-retirement rights, including medical and passage benefits.

  • Restoration of Pre-COVID-19 Allowances: The unions have also asked for the pre-COVID-19 allowances, which had previously been provided to the employees, to be reinstated, now that the flight operations have returned to normalcy.

  • Payment of All Arrears: The letter also demanded that all due payments be made, and all arrears settled before the formal handover.

The airline's staff has reportedly warned that they would go on a strike from 2 November if the housing issue was not resolved soon.

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